Our June Member of the Month is the multi-talented Kirk Deeter. Kirk’s the VP of Trout Unlimited, the editor of the “Trout Media” Group, the editor of Angling Trade, and a contributing editor for Field & Stream. Odds are, if you read any publication in the sporting space, you’ve read something from Kirk. Here’s a bit more about our Member of the Month:
You have quite a few different roles in the fly-fishing industry. Can you give us a run-down?
Well… I’m a vice president of Trout Unlimited and the editor of the “Trout Media” group, which includes TROUT magazine, and TU’s digital and social media efforts. I’m the editor of Angling Trade, on which I have partnered with Tim Romano for the past 10 years. I’m a contributing editor for Field & Stream magazine. I write and edit books, and I write stories for other magazines, inside and outside of fly fishing. It sounds like more than it really is… it’s all kinda connected.
What (or who) got you into fly fishing?
I have always loved fishing, ever since I was a little boy. My grandfather got me into fishing with bait. My dad got me my first fly rod when I was 11. I grew up on Lake Michigan, and I used to fish before school, sometimes slinging caught salmon over my back and pedaling home on my Schwinn Stingray (which used to drive my mom nuts because I’d have to rewash for school). So I was a pretty fishy little dude. But I didn’t latch onto fly fishing until I started dating a girl while at college in Michigan. Her dad was really into fly fishing, and I figured I had to fly fish in order to make the cut. We’ve been married for 27 years now. So I say I took up fly fishing for a girl. And after that, my late father-in-law was most influential on fostering me along. I always joked that I was going to be a neurosurgeon or some captain of industry, but it was his fault that I turned into a fly-fishing writer/editor. He was cool with that. I took over as editor of TROUT right before he died, and he saw my first issue, which had a black-and-white cover of a fish taken out the back door of his cabin in Michigan (by his other son-in-law, Marco Lorenzetti). That was an homage and a thank you to him.
How has AFFTA membership benefitted you?
I think it’s great to stay connected with the people who really move and influence the sport. The most credible, the most committed, the most industrious types are those who participate in AFFTA, in my mind. As a writer and editor, I very much value my sources, and my best sources tend to come through AFFTA.
What’s one thing you wish AFFTA members knew about your work, and the entities you work with?
It’s very important to me to be a writer who happens to fish, rather than a fisherman who writes. There’s nothing wrong with either, but I really work on the writing and editing foremost, and I’ve written on a wide range of topics, from drugs in sports, to the World AIDS Conference, to bios and profiles, to the best hot dogs in Denver. I’ve gravitated to fly fishing because I genuinely love the sport, and am always learning. Seeing amazing places I never dreamed I’d see, and meeting great people along the way. And the conservation aspect is equally heartfelt. I don’t think any of this exists if we don’t pay attention to the natural resources. And if I could add a part B to that answer, I’d say, don’t be afraid to pitch me if you think you have a story. I’ll shoot straight with you.
When you’re not writing, what are you most likely to be found doing?
Fishing! Seriously, I’ve always said that you could cover the NFL without ever playing pro football; and you can cover politics without ever having run for, or held, a political office. But you’d better have your (stuff) in one bag when it comes to talking about the outdoors, particularly fishing. I try to fish 150 days a year, counting the after-dinner stops at the pond by our house, just to keep in the loop. Besides that, I play guitar, and I like golf, but I’m only fair at both. I love scuba diving and sailing. Like skiing. Bird hunting. Elk hunting with a recurve bow (haven’t killed one with it in years). Reading literary fiction and mysteries. Hanging out with my family and friends.